IF you have children, or have ever been a child, you may perhaps be familiar with the children’s author Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, and many more). If you haven’t read his books, you may have seen or heard of the multiple movie adaptations.
My kids love Roald Dahl, but I meet more people than not that despise his books. First of all, they are strange. There is almost always a magic involved and often the humor is dark (giants eating people). Sometimes the bad guy is the adult authority figure (Matilda’s Mrs. Trunchbull, and others). There is the promotion of the over consumption of sweets. And so on and so on.
However, I will defend Roald Dahl as worthwhile reading for your 8 – 12 year old children (and beyond). I appreciate the audacity of his writing (what are children afraid of? Being eaten by giants. Yes, let’s write about that!), and his thorough understanding of how children think.
My least favorite of his novels is the witches (could not get through it).
My children’s favorite is The BFG.
My very favorite, and one of my favorite children’s novels of all time, is Danny Champion of the World.
Let me tell you why Danny is so special– it’s different in that there are no giants, witches, magic or anything of the sort in this book. The mischief is all of a normal kind of mischief that could happen in the real world. But what really charms me is the relationship between the boy and his father. The father has his faults, but his love, understanding and confidence in his boy just completely makes this book for me. Also it is about poaching, which was interesting. It had me longing to live in a little English country village.
So if you haven’t read Roald Dahl, do it–even if you are above the age of 12. And start with Danny!